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By David Blackwell

THE STATEMENT is a great political thriller. The story is a cat and mouse game as two different forces try to get to one man before the other one does. Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine) has been in hiding and on the run in France for 48 years. He was a Nazi collaborator in France during World War 2 that is accused of the murder of seven Jews.

The movie starts in 1944 and soon picks up in 1992. Pierre kills an assassin and goes on the run. He wonders who has betrayed him. Ambitious Judge Ann-Marie Livi (Tilda Swinton) and her assistant, Colonel Roux(Jeremy Northam) re-open the 48 year old case and they try to catch Brossard before someone kills him.  The church shuts Brossard out as people try to warn teh Judge off the case.    Will the Judge and Colonel Roux get to Brossard before an assassin manages to kill him?   Brossard starts to smell a rat and wonders who betrayed him.  Is it someone from the secret group that has been helping him and sending him money each month?

The movie has great direction, great acting, and nice cinematography from Norman Jewison's son, Kevin. You are sympathetic to Brossard despite what he did when he was young. He is a scared man seeking absolution from God for the mistakes he made.

Michael Caine pulls off another great role in a great movie. Caine is experiencing a renaissance of great roles in great movies. Michael Caine last experienced such luck back in the 1960s and 1970s with movies like THE IPCRESS FILE, FUNERAL IN BERLIN, THE ITALIAN JOB, and GET CARTER.

There is a solid British cast of actors from the late Sir Alan Bates, John Neville, and Charlotte Rampling (who plays Brossard's estranged wife).   Not a bad actor among the cast.   The cast helps to cement the scenes in this movie.   One does wonder why there are no French actors playing any of the main French characters in this movie, but that may have been  due to wanting to sell this movie primarily to an English language market.



The movie is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Flesh tones and colors are good. Compression artifacts show up in the shadows during some nighttime scenes. The video is a little soft. A higher bit rate could have brought in the details sharper than they are. The black and white segments taking place in 1944 are grainy on purpose.

The audio is 5.1 English Dolby Digital. There are no language tracks for other languages or foreign language subtitles. There is only an English subtitle track. Sound is good. The dialogue track is a little low in places that I had to turn up the volume a little more than usual.



DIRECTORS COMMENTARY- Norman Jewison talks about the actors, the story, and characters of the movie. He lays down some trivia. He makes mention of two deleted scenes and one extended scene not included in the deleted scenes on the DVD. One scene was early into the movie while the other deleted scene is the second half of a scene (between Swinton and Northam) about 75 minutes into the movie that was cut.

DELETED SCENES- 5 minutes and 51 seconds. There are two deleted scenes. The first scene is about 4 1/2 minutes long and shows a longer version of the second assassin being given his instructions. The other scene is a conversation between the Judge and the Colonel that would have ended up late into the movie.  I do wish the cut scnes mentioned in the commentary were also included here.

THE MAKING OF THE STATEMENT- 11 minutes. You have interviews with Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam, the late Alan Bates, director Norman Jewison, and Kevin Jewison (the director of photography). The featurette features the interviews and behind-the-scenes production footage in Full Frame with Widescreen clips from the movie.


A Conversation with Michael Caine is about 7 min. 10 sec. And A Conversation With Norman Jewison is 10 min. 3 sec. Both are presented in Full Frame.

The format basically is questions being shown and then Michael Caine (or Norman Jewison) answering the question. Michael caine isn't doing acting for a living anymore. He is only doing projects that interest him. Norman Jewison's interview provides insights into movies. Norman says movies are always hard to get made and he likes a bigger budget over a smaller budget due to more time (and more equipment available).



FINAL VERDICT- THE STATEMENT is a great political thriller.  This is a good movie that at least deserves a rental, but I wish there was a better edition to include a slightly better transfer and the three deleted scenes not included on the DVD.

This review is (c) 2004 David Blackwell and this review cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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